Crews, amid backlash for a number of tweets where he criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, decided to go on CNN and defend himself.
“Are all white people bad? No. Are all black people good? No,” the America’s Got Talent host tweeted on Saturday. "I stand on my decision to unite with good people, no matter the race, creed or ideology...Given the number of threats against this decision—I also decide to die on this hill."
These tweets followed others where Crews warned of Black Lives Matter focusing on Black superiority.
During the conversation with Lemon, the CNN anchor asked Crews why this, of all things, was “the hill” he wanted to die on.
"There are some very militant type forces in Black Lives Matter and what I was issuing was a warning,” Crews responded. "I've been a part of different groups and you see how extremes can really go far and go wild. When a warning is seen as detrimental to the movement, how can you ever have checks and balances?"
Lemon himself faced backlash in 2014 during the Ferguson protests, following the murder of Michael Brown, for some of his narrow-minded comments about Black crime and violence. Lemon has notably grown from that criticism and showed as much by asking Crews to be wary of hyperbolizing BLM as an extremist organization.
“I lived in Chicago,” Lemon told Crews, in response to comments the actor tweeted about gun violence in the city. “There are many people who are working in those communities to try to get rid of gun violence. The gun culture in this country is prevalent.”
Lemon went on to emphasize the objective of BLM, which is to combat systemic police and racist violence. “But I don’t understand what that has to do with a movement that’s for equality for Black people,” he continued, arguing against Crews’ comments about intra-community violence. “It’s not mutually exclusive that you care about equality for Black people that somehow you are going to stop random violence or unfortunately, kids from being shot. It just seems like apples and oranges.”
Black Lives Matter was formed by Black, queer women among the publicity around the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014. Since then, support for the movement has continued to grow. In 2020, mass protests in support for the movement have appeared in all 50 states after the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and many others.
Check out the full CNN interview in the video above.